And so it came to pass, that a tween son and a tween daughter finally received their (pre-loved) iPhones tied to the All-Father’s Family Sharing account.
At the iPhone Handing Over Ceremony, the All-Father read out the Rules and Regulations governing said iPhones.
Thy iPhone is a privilege, not an entitlement.
Whatever is Locked shalt remain Locked till the All-Father deems it fit to be unlocked.
Any attempt to circumvent said Locks or to cracketh the All-Father’s Security Code, shalt result in said iPhones being confiscated.
Do not remove the All-Father’s fingerprint from thy iPhone, or he shalt remove thy iPhone from thy fingers.
There shalt be no usage of iPhones at bedtime and charging of iPhones shalt take place in the Living Room at night. Violate this rule, and said iPhones shalt be confiscated.
There shalt be no usage of iPhones at mealtimes or at study times. Violate this rule, and said iPhones shalt be confiscated.
If thy grades decline post-iPhone, said iPhones shalt be confiscated.
If thy teachers contact the All-Mother or me, complaining of unauthorized use of iPhones in school, said iPhones shalt be confiscated.
If thou doeth something with said iPhones that maketh thy All-Father angry, said iPhones shalt be confiscated and thou shalt be returned to the Dark Ages of the Nokia Phone with No Whatsapp.
Protect thine iPhones with all vigilance. Thy previous Nokia phones were not desired by bandits and vagabonds, but these iPhones, despite their vintage, will be the target of thieves and brigands. If lost, there shalt be no replacements.
When in doubt about doing something with thy iPhones, ask for permission.
Do not FaceTime thy All-Father and the All-Mother at work.
Thy All-Father and All-Mother do not speak Emoji. 🤔🤔🤔😑. Please use grammatical English as frequently as possible.
U is not the acceptable version of You. Neither is R an acceptable version of Are. LOL is allowed if thou art truly Laughing Out Loud at the All-Father’s jokes.
The All-Father will generally respect thy privacy with regards to thy messages, unless it is an emergency. Do not violate his sacred trust.
Do not send large videos and images over WhatsApp or iMessage without express permission.
If thy Whatsapp chat groups start to be a distraction from your studies, you shalt be removed from said groups.
Do not sign up for any online or social media thing without express permission.
There is no YouTube app on thy iPhones. Nor canst thou visit YouTube.com without the All-Father’s blessing.
All App purchases, in-app purchases, and even Free Apps, shalt not be allowed without the All-Father’s blessing. In fact, thou wilt not even see the App Store.
Any extra usage bills shalt be deducted from thy allowance, and if excessive, said iPhones shalt be confiscated.
There shall be no power banks issued. If thou useth thy iPhones too much too early in the day, thou wilt have to wait for nightfall before The Charging.
Learneth to know the difference between the home wifi and mobile data. The former is generally unlimited, the latter hath limits.
Do not repeat the 1182 SMSes fiasco from last month. It costeth the All-Father $16.50 more in excess charges. You only get 800 SMSes with thy package.
Pokemon Go? Pokemon NO. Go out there and catch some good grades.
Do not ignore the National Library Board reminders to return your library books. Now that you have email access on your phones, there is no excuse for late fines.
The wifi password can be changed by All-Father anytime. So can the mobile data access. You do not want this to happen.
The All-Father doth appreciate the sharing of thy musical tastes with him, like the Regina Spektor, Jackson Five and Boyz II Men. Except for the Undertale soundtrack. Do not share that with the All-Father.
If thou dost not liketh the iPhone covers that the All-Father has given thee, buyeth thy own with thy own money.
There shall be no playing of any audio out loud in public spaces. Nobody needs to hear what video you are watching or game you are playing or song you are listening to. We are better people than that.
Do not engage in flame wars online. You shall be punished as if you got into an offline fight. Do not feed the trolls.
If you express your opinion online publicly, there will be those who will disagree in a very strong way. This can be unpleasant but it is normal. Developeth thicker skin, and learneth to let things slide. If thou cannot take the slings and arrows of discourse, then don't participate.
The All-Father will not entertain any discussions as to why one child got the newer model and the other child got the older model. Any whining and said iPhones shalt be confiscated.
These rules are subject to change at the discretion of the All-Father. Further rules may be added depending on the circumstances. Pray I don’t alter it any further.
Understand that these rules are for your protection. Because the mobile Internet, while powerful and useful, can also be a dangerous place, populated with cyber-bullies and predators. It is also a place where the things you post, be they good, bad or stupid, have a knack of following you for the rest of your life. Trust the All-Father on this. He has been the Blogfather since 1997. That is almost twenty years.
Enjoy thy iPhones and use them wisely.
Thank goodness for Apple Family Sharing and the ability to calibrate the iPhones correctly for kids. This All-Father thanks Apple.
My oldest daughter, I saw you standing at the door, looking out at the pool of our villa. Your younger siblings were already at the beach, playing with their cousins and both your Yi Suk and Sam Suk (二叔, 三叔), on our big family vacation. Our extended family all in one place, sixteen of us across four hotel rooms, one loud family on a road trip. It was fun to share the room with you, Mommy and Auntie.
Mommy said the dress was meant for your youngest sister Joy, but she was still too small for it. It fits you perfectly. Maybe in a few years, Joy will take over the dress from you.
Six years ago, your Ye Ye (爺爺) went on a similar trip with us. Remember? Back then, there were two less children. Ye Ye would have been happy to see his two new grandchildren, your little cousins, but he left us a year after that trip. Ye Ye would have been happy to see you so big and tall too.
The morning light poured into our room and wrapped itself around you, dancing like gossamer around your still-wet hair. Your thoughts are opaque to us.
But we know you are happy, even though you needed to adjust to the new environment. I know you didn't sleep well the first night. It always takes a while for you, my autistic daughter, but you eventually overcome.
Faith, you are a big girl now. Taller than mommy already. A few more years before you leave special school. I don't know where you will go after you reach womanhood. But you will always be my little girl, Papa's little girl.
I am miles away from home. But my home is with me. It is not a bad way to spend my fifteenth Father's Day.
It is hard to believe that it is already the 27th Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for Apple. Besides me, more than 5,000 attended the conference to find out what Apple will do for watchOS, tvOS, iOS and macOS.
Yes, OS X is finally called macOS. I will miss the old name but hey, at least the naming convention looks consistent now.
Before diving into the program of the day, Tim Cook led the auditorium in a moving moment of silence for the victims of the tragic Orlando Shooting.
The new watchOS 3 looks a lot faster, which is welcome. With each iteration, WatchOS has gotten faster and more usable. You can now share Activity with your friends and family, which is useful for keeping motivated and for trash talking your fitness "opponents". This means I may have to buy my wife an Apple Watch now. I also like the Scribble feature that lets you write on the Apple Watch screen. And SOS will call for help via your iPhone or wifi, without you needing to know what the emergency number is for the country you are in.
And oh, Minnie Mouse is joining Mickey Mouse as a watch face in watchOS 3. And you can even change her outfit colour. Minnie fans, rejoice.
Eddy Cue came on to talk about tvOS, and now you can do Single Sign-on for all your Pay-TV apps on Apple TV 4. Not terribly relevant to us since we don't have that many Pay-TV apps in Singapore. But the new Remote control app that mimics the Apple TV 4 remote is most welcome.
macOS gets a nice big update, besides the name change. macOS Sierra finally brings Siri to the Mac. I use Siri a LOT in my Apple Watch and iPhone so this is a welcome addition for me. You can search for your files on the Mac with Siri, and even get Siri to find photos or work files with criteria you speak.
Universal Clipboard also got me excited. This lets you copy and paste seamlessly between your Mac and your iDevices. Also cool: Craig Federighi showed us how you will be able to use Apple Pay for your online purchases on your Mac. How it works is you click on the Apple Pay option on the website and then you authenticate payment with either Touch ID on your iPhone or by using your Apple Watch.
iOS 10 is a huge huge update. I don't even know where to start. Messages will support full-screen messages, stickers, emojis on steroids and other third-party enhancements. Some of these sticker and emoji action look like the features we already use on Line, Telegram and WeChat but I have to say that the Apple implementation is slick.
Yes, Apple has opened up Messages to developers to add functionality to it. In fact, Apple seems to have opened up a whole lot of the iOS core features to developers, the most significant of which is Siri.
You will be able to tell Siri to send a message via WeChat or Whatsapp, tell Siri to book a restaurant… I cannot wait to see how developers make use of Siri. That sounded kind of wrong.
Photos is another exciting iOS 10 improvement. Memories is a function that will be able to identify faces, and group people, places and things into albums. Then you can use the grouped content to create Memories movies, a slide show made up of photos and video clips from say, your trip to Seattle or Japan in June 2016, and set it to music.
Apple Music gets a long needed overhaul too. The interface is bolder and cleaner. I shall give it a go when it is available, to see if it is improvement enough to lure Spotify stalwarts.
Interestingly, Apple revealed that there are now 15 million paid subscribers to Apple Music. That is a lot of paying customers. Maybe there are many Taylor Swift fans.
Bozoma Saint John, Head of Global Consumer Marketing Apple Music & iTunes, who presented this segment, was a breath of fresh air in the presentation. She played some cool music (Rapper's Delight by the Sugarhill Gang) and tried to get the auditorium dancing and rapping along. Sadly, we failed her in the rapping department. What a cool lady!
And finally, Tim Cook revealed a free gift in the form of Swift Playgrounds for iPad. The app allows anyone, especially kids, to learn how to code in Swift. Now that is something I wouldn't mind letting my kids play with on the iPad, instead of just games.
Coding is indeed an important language for kids to pick up, and Swift Playgrounds may be a great gateway to interest them enough to learn more.
Here is a nice summary of the features in one video, used with permission from Apple:
In fact, every year, on this day, I give thanks for that day, when friends and strangers rallied around our family, to look for Faith who got lost in Dhoby Ghaut station. It is hard to believe it has been four years already.
I still remember the day like it was yesterday.
I still remember the panic and fear felt by my family as we sought to find our autistic firstborn, who had slipped out of mommy's hand during peak hour, and disappeared into the maze that is Dhoby Ghaut station, a station with three lines that could take an autistic child who couldn't talk, anywhere on the island.
I still remember the unusual calm I felt in that storm, as adrenaline and God's grace took over, guiding us towards finding her.
I still remember my phone melting down with Twitter notifications as a community offered help.
I still remember the disbelief in my heart when I received a call from Michael that he found her at Telok Blangah station.
I still remember how bewildered we felt about her journey around the Circle Line.
I still remember the overwhelming relief washing over me when I saw her at the station platform, more than an hour and half after we began the frantic search for her.
To this day, I cannot walk through Dhoby Ghaut station without uneasiness in my heart. My friend Rebecca calls it post-traumatic stress syndrome. I felt it again as I walked through the station with my two younger ones today, four years later, as we went to do some book shopping at Kinokuniya in Takashimaya. Maybe it never totally goes away.
Last week, we went to the park near our home, and had a pleasant afternoon playing at the playground there, as dusk fell.
Faith was at first a little withdrawn, her senses distressed by the sound of the renovations happening at a house near the park. But after a while she calmed down and could be coaxed to play on the swing.
For some reason, today, as I looked at these photos of Faith at the station and Faith at the park swinging beneath a tree, this song by the David Crowder Band kept repeating itself in my head.
All day, the chorus repeating in my head, "Yeah, He loves us, oh, how He loves us / Oh, how He loves us, oh how He loves / So I love…"
"He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all"
For a brief moment, Faith forgets her fears, her anxieties, her sensory overload, and smiles on that swing.
She is a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
The LTA has released their Rules and Code of Conduct for cyclists and users of electric bicycles and Personal Mobility Devices (PMD). I thought all in all, this was a fairly reasonable approach. You can see the document here. Based on the Recommendation Paper by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel.
Bicycles: footpaths, cycling paths and roads can.
Electric Bicycles: footpaths cannot, cycling paths and roads can.
PMDs like e-scooters: footpaths and cycling paths can, roads cannot.
Footpath speeds are limited to 15km/h and cycling path speeds are limited to 25km/h.
I am glad they took electric bicycles off the footpaths. Also good, more stringent specs for what constitutes an electric bicycle (must be pedal-assist only, less than 20kg, max 250W electric motor, below 25km/h, must comply with European Standard, EN15194). This removes the electric motorbikes from the equation.
Also interesting are the allowed specs for e-scooters: Below 20kg, below 70cm in width and no faster than 25km/h. This kills off the huge e-scooters that can go at silly speeds like Inokims and Zoom Airs. They have a non-exhaustive list of the non-approved scooters here.
Two abreast cycling is now allowed on roads with at least two lanes in the same direction, except roads with bus lanes during bus lane hours.
Lights are now required for front and back, and switched on during darkness (it used to be just reflectors needed only). This applies to bicycles, e-bikes and PMDs. I support this wholeheartedly.
All this talk about cycling is making me reminisce about cycling in Portland last year in September. I miss Portland. And cycling in Amsterdam and Denmark too.
The kids’ mobile bills went slightly over free limit this month. I launched into a lecture on the Unholy Trinity of Mobile Phone Fees that telcos love to charge you for, when you overuse any one of them: Voice, SMS and Data.
These are things they don’t teach in school.
You don’t learn this until you pay for the mobile bill yourself and get bill shock either because you have been making calls from the mobile phone even though you have a perfectly fine landline at home. Or streaming video or music on the road. Or engaging in a massive SMS chat. Or downloading stupid videos on Whatsapp, or worse, sending them to friends.
For example, the kids get 150 free minutes a month, incoming. I asked them to calculate how many minutes they would use a month if they used their mobile phones 10 minutes a day for 30 days.
“300 minutes,” they replied.
“That’s 150 minutes over the free calls you get a month, right?” I said.
The 13-year-old and the 11-year-old looked a bit shocked.
“See? It adds up. Five minutes here, five minutes there, and soon, you will be paying for some telco CEO’s sports car,” I told them.
“Repeat after me, I will use the home landline when I am at home, and not call from my mobile phone.”
The kids repeated after me, “I will use the home landline when I am at home, and not call from my mobile phone.”
“And what do you do if your friend keeps on talking even though you say you’ve got to go?” I declared.
“Hang up on them, Papa.”
“Correct. Because as long as your friend keeps blabbering on over the mobile phone, who pays?”
“We do,” the kids replied.
“Indeed. You will pay. And you will pay dearly, Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock,” I said.
I sent them out to the world with this mission: “Your goal is to ensure I don’t see anything other than $0.00 in the Usage Charges column of my phone bill.”
Teach them early. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
And how much moolah they will have to cough up the next time they overshoot the limits.
P.S. Tell the telco to cancel the bloody voice mail service. Every missed call that ends up there is a chargeable call. Who uses Voice Mail these days lah.